Keep­ing warm at home dur­ing win­ter

Waitaki Herald - - ADVERTISING FEATURE - Sources: en­er­gy­,

It’s im­por­tant for your fam­ily’s health that your house is warm and dry. Cold and damp homes are linked to poor health, es­pe­cially for ba­bies and small chil­dren, peo­ple who are ill, and older peo­ple.

There are many things you can do to make your home warmer, health­ier and more en­ergy ef­fi­cient. Gen­er­ally homes in New Zealand waste en­ergy. They can be badly de­signed and con­structed, have in­ad­e­quate in­su­la­tion or use a lot of en­ergy to heat and run.

There are three key el­e­ments to a warmer, drier and health­ier home.

To re­ally make your home warmer, drier and health­ier to live in, it is im­por­tant to think about how in­su­la­tion, heat­ing, and ven­ti­la­tion work to­gether as a sys­tem and how each con­trib­utes to a more com­fort­able and healthy living en­vi­ron­ment.

Ven­ti­la­tion Good ven­ti­la­tion is es­sen­tial to main­tain air qual­ity and re­move ex­cess mois­ture from your home. Hav­ing a draughty house is not the same as good ven­ti­la­tion.

The sim­plest and cheap­est way to ven­ti­late your home is to open doors and win­dows reg­u­larly to al­low fresh air from out­side into your home.

In win­ter, air your house at least once a day for a few min­utes with wide open doors and win­dows to cre­ate a cross-draught. This will quickly re­place stale in­door air with fresh out­door air.

To help avoid con­den­sa­tion prob­lems, ven­ti­late when you turn off the heat­ing – for ex­am­ple, be­fore you leave the house in the morn­ing and just be­fore you go to bed at night.

Ven­ti­la­tion will re­move mois­ture from ev­ery­day living most ef­fec­tively when your home is heated prop­erly be­cause warm air can ab­sorb more mois­ture than cold air.

Ven­ti­lat­ing your bed­room overnight is also im­por­tant for main­tain­ing air qual­ity, re­duc­ing ex­ces­sive mois­ture and the risk of mould growth. You can keep a win­dow slightly ajar on a hinge with se­cu­rity latches fit­ted if the win­dow could be used to en­ter the house.

Make sure you have good ex­trac­tion sys­tems in the wet ar­eas in the home (bath­room, laun­dry and kitchen). Fans or ex­trac­tors need to be vented to out­side your house, not just re­cir­cu­late damp air, or vent it to your ceil­ing space.

Tack­ling sources of ex­cess mois­ture and damp­ness and in­su­lat­ing your home are jobs that only need do­ing once, and are worth do­ing prop­erly. The ini­tial costs are more than paid back in bet­ter com­fort and health for your fam­ily and re­duced en­ergy bills.


Good qual­ity, well in­stalled in­su­la­tion helps keep the heat in dur­ing win­ter and keep it out dur­ing sum­mer. This makes your house eas­ier and cheaper to heat prop­erly, re­duces the risk of mould and mildew growth and more com­fort­able and healthy to live in.

The or­der of pri­or­ity for in­su­lat­ing your home should be: ceil­ing un­der­floor walls win­dows The Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes pro­gramme of­fers free ceil­ing and un­der­floor in­su­la­tion for low-in­come house­holds in many parts of the coun­try. You may qual­ify if:

your home was built be­fore the year 2000, and

the home owner or main ten­ant has a Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Card, and

you have chil­dren un­der 17 years, adults over 65 years or some­one with high health needs living in your home, or

you are a land­lord with el­i­gi­ble ten­ants.

Heat­ing Choos­ing an ef­fi­cient heat­ing sys­tem for your home will help you main­tain healthy in­door tem­per­a­tures, re­duce green­house gas emis­sions, and man­age your power bill.

There are lots of heat­ing op­tions for homes, but us­ing the right op­tion for your cir­cum­stances will mean that you can keep your home warm, healthy and com­fort­able to live in while keep­ing run­ning costs low.

Keep­ing your home warm is im­por­tant for your health and com­fort, and a good heat­ing sys­tem (cou­pled with proper in­su­la­tion, ven­ti­la­tion and mois­ture con­trol) makes it much eas­ier to do.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends the fol­low­ing min­i­mum in­door tem­per­a­tures, which are also sup­ported by the Min­istry of Health.

A min­i­mum of 18C, or a min­i­mum of 20C for more vul­ner­a­ble groups like chil­dren, the el­derly and peo­ple who are ill.

A min­i­mum of 16C in your bed­room overnight.

Th­ese rec­om­mended tem­per­a­tures ap­ply to all rooms, while you are us­ing them.

As up to 20 per cent of heat­ing can be lost through drafts, it is vi­tal to elim­i­nate them. Block up un­used chim­neys and stop draughts around doors and win­dows. You can make your own draught ‘snakes’ by stuffing rugby socks or panty­hose with news­pa­per or cush­ion fill­ing.

Tackle damp­ness to en­sure your sys­tem is ef­fi­cient.

About 30 per cent of our homes suf­fer from prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with be­ing damp, and most of our houses have mould. De­hu­mid­i­fiers and ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems are used to fix the symptoms of the prob­lem, but not the source of the prob­lem it­self. Damp­ness makes rooms un­healthy to live in. In a lot of cases though, it is also a prob­lem that is rel­a­tively cheap and easy to iden­tify and fix.

The symptoms of ex­cess mois­ture and damp­ness:

Musty smells in rooms that are closed for any pe­riod of time

Damp or mouldy clothes or shoes in wardrobes

Mould or mildew form­ing be­hind paint­ings, mir­rors etc.

Stains or wa­ter­marks on ceil­ings or walls

Mouldy ceil­ings and walls, par­tic­u­larly in kitchens or bath­rooms

Prob­lems with ar­eas of rot­ting wood in the struc­ture of your house Damp or mould un­der the house. Con­den­sa­tion on win­dows, es­pe­cially in bed­rooms, isn’t nec­es­sar­ily damp­ness if it only hap­pens oc­ca­sion­ally dur­ing win­ter.

There are many things you can do to make your home warm and dry.

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